Make Your Own Halloween Costumes to Encourage Creativity
I am really not a person who can make Halloween costumes. I’m just not very creative when it comes to Arts and Crafts. I like the idea of assembling or creating your own Halloween costume. The ones that you buy are always so poorly made plus my kids hate it when their friends have the exact same costume. It’s even more challenging when your kids are small for their age (like mine!). When Mitch offered to write a post on this, I happily agreed. I am going to show this to my kids to see if we can’t drum up some cardboard and creativity. I know we have plenty of duct tape!
We all want our children to grow up to be the next creative genius; perhaps the future Mozart or da Vinci. And there’s almost nothing more important than inspiring creativity in your children. After all, creativity is our greatest gift as a species. We have the capability to reason with suppositions, and use those imagined possibilities to guide our work. But this is a trait that must be constantly developed in children, even though it’s sometimes best to leave them to their own devices.
And what better opportunity to help your children practice their creativity than Halloween? Rather than buying one of the same old tired Halloween costumes from your local superstore, you can take this opportunity to work with your child to design a Halloween costume of which he can be proud. The process, however, can be a nightmare if you don’t properly prepare.
The Right Way to Approach Creativity in Children
According to KidSource.com, there are six key ways that adults can help their children be more creative, without accidentally stifling this creativity with too much involvement:
- Set up an environment where the child can explore their ideas without undue restraint.
- Be open to your child’s ideas rather than trying to conform them to your own.
- Support unusual suggestions from your child by suspending judgment.
- Try to encourage projects that help to address everyday problems.
- Give your child enough time to try different ideas and they will shift from popular ones to original thoughts.
- Put more emphasis on the process than the product.
Now, not every parent will be able to set up the large (and expensive) creative workshop that KidSource.com seems to suggest. However, there are many ways that you can use Halloween, and the costumes associated with the holiday to help your child develop her creativity, without breaking the bank.
Alter Existing Costumes
If you don’t have the time or materials to create a Halloween costume from scratch, you can still be creative in how you approach existing costumes. For example, you might get some ideas from online costumes from HalloweenExpress (among other websites), and might show these costumes to your child. Try asking your child what he sees in the pictures. While it might clearly show a pirate or a fireman to you, it could be something entirely different to your child. These different perceptions can give you and your child ideas for possible creative alterations of the costumes. For example, a good Superman costume can be altered to become Superman’s alter-ego, Clark Kent with a few simple additions:
- Dark two piece suit
- White dress shirt
- Clear glasses
Best of all, you can save money by simply buying a Superman t-shirt that your child can wear under the suit. Either by unbuttoning the top few buttons of the shirt, or waiting for the big reveal during a party, your child can turn a seemingly boring costume into a creative Superman look.
Create Costumes From Scratch
Perhaps the best way to encourage creativity in your child is to supply the necessary materials, and let him go to work designing his own Halloween costume from scratch. Simply supply the materials and let your child do the rest. It can be fun to see what he comes up with. Some good ideas for materials you should supply include:
- Plenty of cardboard
- Water based paint
- Duct Tape
- Safety Scissors
- Some old clothes that can be cut up
Almost anything you have around the house or that you can find at your local crafts store can be used in DIY costume sessions. Let your child use their own ideas and come up with the materials he needs to accomplish the task. It can also be fun to plan a trip to your local arts and crafts store with your child. Before you go, ask him to draw some pictures of the costumes he’d like to try, so you both get an idea of what would be needed to create the costume. This works better for older children (ages 8-12).
Involve Your Child in the Costume Creation
Sometimes, it’s best if you handle the major costume creation process – either because it involves some dangerous materials for your child to use, or it’s just too complicated for him to handle. However, this doesn’t mean that he can’t still be heavily involved in the creation process. One idea from FamilyFun.go.com is to create a “Bag of Gross-eeries,” or dress your child up like a bag of groceries, but with creatively crafted fake spoiled food. This costume is great for kids that enjoy the “gross-out” factor in their costumes.
While you might make the majority of the main costume, your child can help come up with and create some of the finer details. For example, you can make fake sausage links by cutting up dark stockings and putting long inflated balloons inside. This is something that your child can probably handle. You can blend the items you make from scratch with some store bought items like rubber rats, cockroaches and chickens. Otherwise, you just need some clean, empty food boxes (cereal boxes, egg cartons, chip bags, etc.) from your kitchen, a large paper bag, and various cutting and painting materials.
Whether you help in the creation process, or just let your child have control over their costume, creating a Halloween costume with your child is a great way to help them develop their creative mind. While you might need to step in once in a while when something your child creates might be dangerous or distasteful, it’s best to step back and let your child do the work. Involving yourself too heavily in the process when it’s not necessary can actually provide negative reinforcement, even if it’s not your intention.
About the Author: Mitch O’Conner is an online marketer and writer. When he’s not busy testing sites, generating traffic or writing content, he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, watching TV, playing games and camping.